With all the different types of sports drinks on the market, it can be hard to decide whether to choose a sports drink like Gatorade or just grab water to drink. In most cases, water will meet your hydration needs, and sports drinks shouldn’t be taking the place of your regular water intake. Yes, they still help hydrate you, but the average healthy child, adolescent and adult doesn’t need the extra carbohydrates and calories that comes along with consuming this beverage.
However, consuming sports drinks during exercise lasting more than one hour, can help provide needed energy to hard working muscles and can aid in hydration. Carbohydrates, our main energy source, can be found in sports drinks, like Gatorade. It is recommended for those exercising for one hour or longer to consume between 30-60 grams of carbohydrates to help maintain blood glucose (sugar) levels. Most sports drinks contain about 4-8% of carbohydrates to help meet those needs.
If you are still confused about what to drink and when to drink it below is a simple list to help you determine if you should reach for water or Gatorade.
When to just choose WATER:
- Sitting on the couch
- A three mile run or bike ride
- Sitting at your desk at work
- Studying for the next big exam in a coffee shop or the library
When to Choose a SPORTS DRINK:
- Participating in a sporting event lasting longer than one hour
- Running in an endurance race that lasts longer than one hour
- Exercising in an extreme environment like: serve heat or humidity, cold, or high altitude
- If you are an athlete that has missed or not consumed a quality pre-workout meal to sustain your physical activity
- If you are a wrestler or in another sport where you limit your energy intake prior to a weigh-in, etc
If you still are not sure whether to Gatorade or not just ask!